German ministry apologises for pork sausages at Islam conference
Germany's Interior Ministry has apologised for serving pork sausages at a Berlin conference on Islam earlier this week.
The ministry said that the German Islam Conference's buffet selection had been chosen to cater to a "diverse religious attendance" and apologised "if individuals felt offended in their religious feelings". It also insisted that a variety of clearly marked choices, including halal, vegetarian, meat and fish dishes were made available.
According to German media, most of the event's attendees were Muslims, whose religious dietary requirements would have prevented them from consuming the blutwurst "blood sausages" that were on offer.
Pork products were also served at the first German Islam Conference in 2006, reports said.
News of the ministry's insensitive choice of fare sparked outrage, including towards the event's leader, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer.
Seehofer, who leads Bavaria's Christian Social Union (CSU) party, reportedly said in his opening remarks that he wants to see a "German Islam".
"What signal does Seehofer's interior ministry want to send? A little respect for Muslims, who don't eat pork, is needed," German journalist Tuncay Ozdamar wrote on Twitter.
Ozdamar added that the minister's "elephant in a china shop" actions "would never gain the support of a majority of Muslims in Germany".
Seehofer came under fire earlier this year for saying that Islam "does not belong in Germany".
"The Muslims who live among us naturally belong to Germany... That of course does not mean that we should, out of a false consideration for others, give up our traditions and customs," Seehofer said in March.
The remarks were seen as an attempt to appeal to voters lost to the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. In last month's Bavarian elections, the CSU suffered its worst election results in more than six decades, while the AfD were able to enter Bavaria's parliament for the first time.
Amid pressure from party officials and supporters after the disastrous polls, Seehofer announced his resignation as head of the CSU last month.